Market Wrap: Aus shares close in the red

Market Reports

The Australian share market crept higher at the open, yet lost ground throughout the day to close in the red. 

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points down to finish at 4,056. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 16 points down.

Company news

The head of Rio Tinto Limited's (ASX:RIO) iron ore division, Sam Walsh, says the miner is on track to increase its output to over 350 million tonnes a year by early 2015 and estimates an increase to 450 million tonnes in 2016. The announcement came as Mr Walsh today rebuffed claims that increasing demand and rapidly industrialising nations could lead to the world’s iron ore supplies running out. Shares in Rio Tinto closed 0.14 per cent up at $56.36.

Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) will launch its online music service, MOG, in weeks. Time is of the essence as rival international music platform Spotify was launched in Australia yesterday. The news comes as the communications giant was forced to reset the passwords of up to 230,000 customers of its video sites GameArena and Game Shop, following a major hacking incident this morning. Shares in Telstra closed 0.84 per cent down at $3.53.

Also in the headlines AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGK) will undertake capital raising to the tune of $900 million to part fund its purchase of Victoria’s Loy Yang Power Station.

Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (ASX:CMJ) today confirmed Foxtel has completed its $2 billion takeover of regional counterpart Austar United Communications Limited (ASX:AUN).

Australia Pacific LNG, the natural gas joint venture between Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG), ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, has secured a $US8.5 billion finance package to fund future parts of the project.

And Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) has amended the terms of its $1.65 billion takeover agreement with Chinese based Hanlong Mining to ensure completion by November.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Health Care adding 91 points to close at 9,036. The worst performing sector was Telco Services, losing 10 points to close at 1,212.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR), rising 7.78 per cent to close at $0.48. Shares in Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU) and Dart Energy Limited (ASX:DTE) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Aquarius Platinum Limited (ASX:AQP), dropping 6.61 per cent to close at $1.20. Shares in SP AusNet (ASX:SPN) and Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,557 an ounce. Light crude is $0.44 up at $US90.34.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9750.